Please see the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Great Loop. Enjoy learning more through the links embedded in the answers to other pages on this web site. Send your questions for answers to us.
Question What is the best yacht for the Great Loop?
Answer The best boat for the Great Loop is the best boat for your purposes. A Trawler, Motor Yacht, Cruiser, Sailboat or Houseboat may be best. It depends on your budget, the time you want to commit to the trip and other needs. The most popular is a Trawler because of comfort for the size and fuel economy. If you are time pressed and want to make any of the many side trips available, a Motor Yacht or Cruiser would be best.
Question Sailboat for the Great Loop?
Answer Yes, you would have to lower the mast(s) in Chicago and raise the mast(s) again in the St. Louis area to continue down the Mississippi to New Orleans. If going up the Ohio river to the Tombigbee Waterway, you will have to wait until Mobile to raise the mast(s). In upstate New York you will need to unstep your mast(s) for the Erie Barge Canal.
Question What is the lowest bridge on the Great Loop?
Answer At mile 300.6 on the Illinois River there is a fixed railroad bridge with a 19.7 foot vertical clearance. Some are able to negotiate this height restriction by lowering masts, radar arches, antennas, etc. Just be sure because it a long way back through the Great Lakes!
Question What is the best depth for the Great Loop?
Answer Five feet or less is best. More and your trip may have to make detours around shoal areas, sometimes a few feet and sometimes many miles or not at all.
Question Do I need boating experience for the Great Loop?
Answer Many people without boating experience have made the Great Loop after taking lessons from the United States Power Squadrons, another boater, a professional coach or learning locally before the Great Loop adventure.
Question When is the best time for the Great Loop?
Answer The easy answer to this question is to travel with the seasons. The spring flooding on the Mississippi does not subside until fall. Therefore it is best to wait until fall before entering the Illinois River at Chicago to start southward. Winter is best enjoyed in the southeast USA with side trips to The Keys, Bahamas or just traveling around Florida. Spring is the start of the trip north to the Mid-Atlantic states with summer in the Great Lakes and Canada if so desired. Traveling with the good weather is always best.
Question Will I have internet access on the Great Loop? Cell Phone?
Answer Your travels will take you by cities, towns and marinas that have access for both internet and phone. Using your cell phone as a “hot spot” is what most Great Loopers use or getting access ashore or anchored out. Get the complete run down from our in house internet expert Jim Healey.
Question Where do I go to buy a boat for the Great Loop?
Answer You are in luck! Curtis Stokes and Associates specializes in Great Loop boats. Visit the CSA Great Loop Boats for Sale page to see boats grouped by type suitable for the Great Loop. Some of these boats are veterans of the Loop. If they have done it once, they can do it again with you.
Question What side trips are available on the Great Loop?
Answer There are so many!
Summer A cruise to New England, Long Island Sound, northern lakes of New York, all the Great Lakes and Canada are available.
Fall The Mississippi River has many tributaries worth exploring if your have the power to push upstream. Don’t get caught out by bad weather of late fall though!
Winter All of the southeast US, Florida Keys and The Bahamas are great places to explore. For those who have lots of time the lower Bahamas and the Caribbean are wonderful island destinations. You don’t have to do the Loop in one cycle of a year’s seasons, you can use as much time as you like.
Spring Traveling up the east coast of the US is an enjoyable experience. You are moving with an ever greening landscape that is pleasing to the eye. Pleasant days and cool nights are part of the trip worth remembering.
Attractions Along the Way There are many attractions such as museums, nature preserves, interesting restaurants, city and town architecture, waterfronts and other points of interest worth seeing. Plan on stopping to see these additional attractions.
Question What is best equipment for navigation onboard?
Answer Get the answers for all of this from Jim Healey’s article Navigation Via PC or Tablet Computer.
Question What is Diesel Engine Maintenance like?
Answer Read the article Diesel Engine Maintenance.
Question What is Great Loop Cruising like?
Answer Read the article Great Loop Cruising.
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